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Ebola-like virus vial lost by Texas Biolab

on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:15


The Galveston National Laboratory, a high security National Biocontainment Laboratory owned by the University of Texas Medical Branch, reported the loss of one of five vials containing the Guaranito virus, the etiologic agent of Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are similar to those caused by Ebola viruses. At least several hundred cases of infections have been attributed to Guanarito virus in those regions where it is common, with an estimated mortality rate between 10 and 20 percent. At the moment, no treatment or cure is available for the virus. The virus usually only spreads between rodents in Venezuela.
The missing of one vial was noticed during a routine inspection on March 20 and 21. On March 23, the university notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An investigation has been started and the main hypothesis is that the missing vial was destroyed during normal laboratory sterilization practices. The university does not believe this was the result of a security breach or any wrongdoing.